Preventable health issues not only impact our military community and our nation, but also our readiness and our daily lives. Every year, we spend billions on the treatment of preventable illness and injury. These health issues impact how we feel and even our emotional well-being because they cause stress, which leads to even more issues. The overall goal of Operation Live Well is to ensure that the healthy choice becomes the easy choice and the social norm. As medical providers, we can't force our military community to live healthy lives, but as a whole - Army, Navy, Marine Corps, Air Force, families, civilians, veterans and the supporting community - we can influence the accepted social norms. We do this by working together, across the Department, to share innovative ideas for making healthy choices easier for all of us.
Globally, we have programs across the services - at individual bases, within units and aboard ships - that have the same or very similar goals. For example, the Navy just launched their Operation Live Well campaign aboard USS Bataan (LHD-5) with the help of U.S. Surgeon General Vice Adm. Regina Benjamin. As Vice Adm. Benjamin said, "Health does not occur in the doctor's office, it happens where we live and play." This is why Operation Live Well seeks to make the healthy choice the better choice. Healthy behaviors are fostered in our daily lives in our communities, homes, schools and churches. We need a platform to showcase the good ideas and our attempts at innovation so our line leaders, healthcare providers and individuals can see others' good ideas, share their own and build on each other's successes to make them their own. Operation Live Well provides the platform to see and share what we are doing across the Department.
As Operation Live Well matures and develops, there certainly will be new ideas emerging that can benefit everyone in our military community. The web page will be the focal point to showcase and encourage connections. It will connect individuals to tools that can help them to manage their health care. It will connect providers to tools like the Operation Supplement Safety database so they can know the effect of a dietary supplement ingredient on their patient. Our national security depends upon having a fit and ready force. It depends upon our nation's young, bright minds to have bodies that will sustain them for long and healthy lives. Our mission is to promote and sustain health. We want you to live a happy, healthy life.
A culture of healthy behaviors is essential to readiness and maintaining a healthy community. Leading a healthy lifestyle - physically, mentally, socially and spiritually - plays an important role in the overall preparedness of our nation's warriors and the families that support them. It also plays a vital role in maintaining the well-being of our veterans in their readiness to thrive as civilians.